Composition Commission issued to Steffen Schleiermacher: Nach Markus. Passion

Bach-Archiv Leipzig, Germany

For the Bach Festival in 2016 librettist Christian Lehnert and composer Steffen Schleiermacher will be venturing the treatment of a work that has already seen numerous attempts in the past. Since the middle of the last century there have been various efforts to reconstruct Johann Sebastian Bach’s St Mark’s Passion that only appears in the original printed text.

With a composition commission issued to Steffen Schleiermacher supported by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, the authors of this new performance version are adopting a rather unconventional path by not only reflecting the story of the passion in a musical but also in textual manner using contemporary means of expression and style. In Nach Markus. Passion the fragments of Bach’s St Mark’s Passion ring out in their original form and sequence. However, the lost parts are re-composed and the libretto is rewritten. Schleiermacher composes here largely for Bach’s range of instruments but uses a contemporary musical language: New Music – explicitly composed for old instruments. In this way the libretto and music attempt to update the St Mark’s Passion, making its images and message accessible in our modern times without overwriting the original.


June 13, 2016
Leipzig, Nikolaikirche

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